Airplanes and Rockets' history & copyright Google search American Modeler Air Trails American Aircraft Modeler Young Men Hobbies Aviation Flying Aces Saturday Evening Post Boys' Life Hobby Distributors Amateur Astronomy Engines & Motors Balsa Densities Silkspan Covering Comics Electronics My Models Model Aircraft Articles Plans Model Boat Articles Plans Model Car Articles Plans Model Train Articles Plans 1941 Crosley 03CB Radio Model helicopter articles & plans Crosswords Model Rocket Articles Plans Restoration Projects Photos Peanuts Collection Model Aircraft Articles Plans Sitemap Homepage Hints and Kinks Amateur Radio Archives of the homepage R/C Modeler Electronics About Airpleans and Rockest, Disclaimer, Terms of Use Model Topics Please Donate to Airplanes and Rockets Parole Plaza, Annapolis, Maryland Hobby Items for Sale Airplanes and Rockets Hero Graphic
Plastic Scale Model Kits - Airplanes and Rockets

Drones - Airplanes and Rockets

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) Plans Service - Airplanes and Rockets

Sketchbook - Model Building Tips
August 1954 Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men

August 1954 Air Trails
August 1954 Air Trails Cover - Airplanes and RocketsTable of Contents

These pages from vintage modeling magazines like Flying Aces, Air Trails, American Modeler, American Aircraft Modeler, Young Men, Flying Models, Model Airplane News, R/C Modeler, captured the era. All copyrights acknowledged.

These "Sketchbook" pages appeared for many years in Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men magazine and in its predecessor, Air Trails. "Sketchbook" was a monthly feature where modelers wrote to the magazine with handy ideas for saving time and/or money, and just for offering tips and suggestions on a different way of doing something. Prior to having information on just about every topic readily available on the Internet, modelers had to rely on books, magazines, friends, and personal ingenuity. Also, in those days there was not the plethora of accessories available for building models, so a lot of creativity was involved. Even items as commonplace as bellcranks for control line models and dethermalizers for free flight were fabricated from salvaged parts like metal soup cans and hairpins. I'm guessing no magazine today would dare publish a scheme to attach bottle rockets to a model airplane as is shown here, lest Homeland Security or the FBI show up at the editor's door in the early morning hours with a fully outfitted SWAT team.


Earl Cayton, Salem, Oregon, employs dural firewall plate - Airplanes and Rockets

Earl Cayton, Salem, Oregon, employs dural firewall plate as firm base for thrust adjustment washers in radially-mounted engine of free flight gassie -

 - Airplanes and Rockets

Have you developed something new in construction, control, or flying? Send a rough sketch - we'll redraw it and pay $5 for each accepted. Contributions should be original ideas; sorry, we cannot enter into any correspondence on submissions.

Ad hoc modeling tools by Arthur Lederle, Southold, New York - Airplanes and Rockets

Inexpensive model "tools" for easier handling of small model parts - Arthur Lederle, Southold, New York.

Fabric covering by Eric Knox, San Francisco, California - Airplanes and Rockets

Fabric covering is easily applied with paste adhesive. Spread over frame with fingertip, it allows 15 min. period for stretching covering before setting. By Eric Knox, San Francisco, California.

Hair com grilles by Phil Boretto, Santa Rosa, California - Airplanes and Rockets

Sections cut from combs make realistic grills for cowl openings. Ideal for team racers, stunt & scale models of all sizes says Phil Boretto, Santa Rosa, California.

Fuel line coupling by L.M. Waldorf, Binghampton, New York - Airplanes and Rockets

L.M. Waldorf, Binghampton, New York, makes small coupling at firewall to facilitate replacing fuel line to "sealed-in" tank.

Nail polish spinner, Keith Red, 12, Union City, Michigan - Airplanes and Rockets

Great variety in shapes of plastic nail polish caps include some suitable for A/2 engine spinners suggests Keith Red, 12, Union City, Michigan.

Richard Chang, Hong Kong, China, rigs realistic rocket - Airplanes and Rockets

Richard Chang, Hong Kong, China, rigs realistic rocket batteries under wing of control-line model -

Click for full size page scans

Sketch-book from August 1954 Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men (p64) - Airplanes and RocketsSketch-book from August 1954 Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men (p65) - Airplanes and Rockets

Sketchbook Editions

| Sep 49 | Jan 52 | Jul 54 | Aug 54 | Sep 54 | Dec 54 | Mar 55 | Jan 57 | Feb 57 | Mar 57 | Apr 57 | May 57 | Jun 57 | Jul 57 | Sep 57 | Oct 57 | Nov 57 | Dec 57 | Oct 58 | Mar 59 | Jul 59 | Aug 59 |Nov 59 | Dec 59 | Jan 61 | Feb 61 | Mar 61 | Apr 61 | Jun 61 | Jul 61 | Aug 61 | Dec 61 | Mar 62 | Jan 62 |Feb 62 | Jun 62 | Jul 62 | Oct 62 | Sep 62 | Dec 62 | Jan/Feb 63 | Mar/Apr 63 | May/Jun 63 |Jul/Aug 63 | Sep/Oct 63 | Nov/Dec 63 | Mar 67 | Oct 67 | Feb 68 | Apr 68 | May 68 | Jun 68 | Jul 68 | Sep 68 |

Back when the Sketchbook, Gadgetry, Powerless Pointers, and Engine Info columns were run, there were very few pre-built models, and there simply was not as much available in the way of hardware and specialized modeling tools. We were still a nation of designers and builders. The workforce was full of people who worked on production lines, built houses and buildings with hand tools, and did not have distractions like Nintendos and X-Boxes. Remember that plastics were not common material until the early 50s and the transistor wasn't invented until late 47. Enjoy the tips. Some of you will no doubt wax nostalgic over the methods, since you can remember the days when you did the exact same thing!



Posted October 5, 2013

Plastic Scale Model Kits - Airplanes and Rockets

About Airplanes & Rockets 

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and RocketsKirt Blattenberger

Carpe Diem! (Seize the Day!)

Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD ...

Copyright  1996 - 2026
All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the Airplanes and Rockets website are hereby acknowledged.

Homepage Archives  |  Modeling News Archives


Kirt Blattenberger


Family Websites:

RF Cafe

Equine Kingdom

Rocket Kits + Accessories - Airplanes and Rockets

Model Aircraft Museum, AMA - Airplanes and Rockets

Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) - Airplanes and Rockets

Academy of Model Aeronautics

Tower Hobbies logo - Airplanes and Rockets

Tower Hobbies

Horizon Hobby logo - Airplanes and Rockets

Horizon Hobby

Sig Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets

Sig Mfg

Brodak Manufacturing - Airplanes and Rockets

Brodak Mfg